For many types of foot pain, the source of the trouble comes down to structure. Custom orthotics can be powerful tools in a podiatrist’s arsenal for combatting the negative effects of structural abnormalities.
And at Midwest Podiatry Centers, we are proud to provide our patients with those tools—including state-of-the-art 3D-printed orthotics via our Fitstation technology—to specifically meet the unique needs of each patient’s feet.
What Can Custom Orthotics Treat?
Our feet are complex natural structures, built to efficiently distribute our body weight and keep us moving effectively.
Unfortunately, this structure is not always perfect. Due to factors such as heredity, past injuries, foot deformities, and other conditions, abnormalities can be present that affect the function of the feet.
This can cause excess weight or force to shift to certain areas of the foot that were not built to sustain such pressures so well, causing pain or injuries. It can also affect your gait (the way you walk), which can have adverse effects running all the way up your body as muscles and joints shift to maintain stability, leading to pain in the knees, legs, or lower back as well!
Custom orthotics address these issues by providing exact amounts of cushioning and corrective support beneath the foot, restoring a more normal distribution of forces across the foot and/or shifting excess forces away from problematic areas.
Much like prescription eyeglasses, custom orthotics work best when they exactly match the needs of a patient. And also like eyeglasses, they will not “cure” the feet over time. They must be continuously worn for their benefits to be felt—but are very much worth it!
Custom orthotics can be effective in many cases, including:
- Heel Pain (e.g. plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, etc.)
- Pain in the ball of the foot
- Bunions and hammertoes
- Knee pain
However, not all cases of the above or other problems may benefit from custom orthotics. A thorough examination is required to determine the full roots of your condition, and it may end up that other forms of treatment would be much more effective for your specific situation.
Fitstation and 3D Printing
Fitstation and its partnering Go-4D technology provide us with a more advanced method than ever of creating custom orthotics, ensuring the results best fit our patients’ needs. This technology is currently exclusive to our Richfield office, but we can prescribe orthotics via more traditional methods at any of our locations.
Fitstation provides an even faster and easier way of prescribing custom orthotics—and with virtually no waste! Here’s what you can expect:
- You stand on the Fitstation scanner to capture a 3D digital image of each foot up to the ankle. The device uses nine laser-powered cameras, and is so sophisticated that it can pick up subtle differences that are impossible to detect with just your eyes.
- You will then walk over a very sensitive pressure plate to record how each part of your foot strikes the floor, the length of time it remains there, and how much force it receives—all in real time.
- The program compiles all of this specific data for us to easily analyze. Using this information, as well as what we have gathered through a physical examination and learning about your symptoms and needs, we can make a prescription for your custom orthotic inserts.
- We send this prescription to the lab electronically, and they can begin 3D printing.
The 3D printing of your orthotics is truly special. Instead of carving and molding your orthotics from solid elements, they are constructed exactly to specifications with use of a plastic printing powder.
Custom orthotics designed this way tend to be thinner and more lightweight than other methods, and much more capable of being accurately tweaked. And any leftover powder from the creation of one set of orthotics can simply be placed into the creation of the next, greatly reducing waste.
Orthotics for All Ages
Custom orthotics can provide lifetime support for feet, from childhood to your senior years.
Each set of orthotics is built to last a number of years with proper care. It is important that they be inspected at least once per year to ensure they are in good shape and still doing their job correctly. Refurbishment and replacement will likely be needed over time, especially if your foot structure or other factors surrounding your comfort shift.
Children, understandably, have feet that grow and change much faster than an adult’s, but orthotics can still make a huge difference in their comfort and mobility. That is why we offer an Outgrowth Program for Fitstation patients.
The Outgrowth Program provides a 25% order discount for anyone who outgrows a prior 3D-printed orthotic within 18 months, and can be ordered as many times as you desire within this period.
Find the Right Treatment for Your Foot Pain & Discomfort
Whether custom orthotics are what you truly need for your foot and ankle comfort, or another route of treatment is required, you must take the first step toward the right care by reaching out for help!
Call our clinics at (612) 788-8778 to schedule an appointment, or fill out our online form to have a member of our staff contact you during our standard hours.